Frank Biess (UC San Diego), Robert Heinze (DHI Paris), Esra Ozyurek (University of Cambridge), and Stefanie Schüler-Springorum (Center for Research on Antisemitism, Berlin) will reflect on the recent debate in Germany that was ignited by a new translation of Michael Rothberg’s book Multidirectional Memory (2009). Many described this debate as a second Historikerstreit. While the original Historikerstreit in the 1980s centered around the question of the Holocaust's uniqueness as well as its place in Germany's public culture, the most recent debates specifically addressed the relation of the Holocaust to European colonial history.
Simone Lässig (German Historical Institute Washington), Akasemi Newsome (University of California, Berkeley), Lutz Raphael (German Association of Historians), and Isabel Richter (DAAD | University of California, Berkeley) have organized a panel discussion to reflect on the debate as it has unfolded thus far in Germany. Experts from the United States, the UK, and Germany will discuss the different receptions of work by Michael Rothberg and a related essay by Dirk Moses titled The German Catechism that became one of the center pieces of this debate. This panel discussion is not intended to further fuel the very heated debates in Germany. Rather, we are interested in transatlantic reflection on why different publics, as well as different representatives of historical scholarship, deal so differently with the problem of competing and converging memories. Our goal is thus not to deepen conflicts, but to clarify the debates in a way that allows historians in Europe and the United States to have their thoughts and opinions heard. The discussion will be moderated by Rita Chin (University of Michigan) and Akasemi Newsome (University of California, Berkeley).